State of the Union viewership down: Was Dorner a factor?

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UPDATED: Did heavy interest in the Christopher Dorner siege hurt the president’s State of the Union Address ratings?

Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was the least-watched since he first took office.

A total of 33.5 million viewers tuned in for the Tuesday night telecast, according to Nielsen Media Research. That’s down 11 percent from last year, which was the president’s previous least-watched State of the Union address. The speech was also down 36 percent from Obama’s 2008 address after he first took office.

But on a couple of the cable networks, intensive live national Dorner coverage actually increased viewership for Obama’s speech compared to last year since Fox News, CNN and MSNBC were all covering Dorner up until the address — giving the president a presumably strong lead-in.

Former LAPD office and alleged cop killer Dorner was surrounded by police in a Big Bear cabin yesterday afternoon. Shortly after authorities ordered media helicopters out of the area, police inserted tear gas into the cabin and the structure burned down. Cable news networks stayed with Dorner until Obama took the stage. The address itself reportedly did air as scheduled on the cable networks.

For more, here’s Ken Tucker on the divided state of TV viewership last night.

CNN and MSNBC coverage of the State of the Union were both up — 36 percent and 8 percent, respectively, among total viewers from last year. Fox News was down a just a tad, but edged out rivals among total viewers.

CNN:              1.436m adults 25-54      3.635m total viewers
FNC:               957k adults 25-54         3.683m total viewers
MSNBC:         1.028m adults 25-54    3.034m total viewers

 

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